Stay safe on Utah’s slick roads

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PROVO — This holiday season is filled with cheer, but the woes of winter can cause issues for Utah drivers, especially as a state with no reflective lane markers.

Annelise Jolley is from Texas, a state that doesn’t experience much winter weather but has reflective lane markers. Jolley says winter driving in Utah is scary because the lanes, “are not reflective at all; you can’t see where the lanes are.”

Annelise isn’t the only one who feels this way. A social media poll revels 90 percent of Utah drivers feel unsafe in wet conditions.

So why does the state with the quote “best snow on earth” have some of the worst wet road visibility?

“Certain types of applications just won’t work in Utah,” says Geoff Dupaix with UDOT.

Our snowy state can’t use traditional reflective pavement markers because of the plows that remove snow, so Utah has to use tape.

Most residential areas have painted lanes but the highways have taped lanes.

A Utah highway lane strip has elevated patterns with glass beads that provide reflection, but the moment the grooves fill with water, the reflection is gone. And tape is durable; it lasts a long time and in some places more than 10 years.

Other states seem to face the same issue, but UDOT is constantly looking for better solutions.

Utah officials understand the threat of bad roads too, and Dupaix says UDOT is well aware of the safety threat: “It’s definitely a safety issue, and safety is our number one priority.”

For now, UDOT asks that everyone just drive a little bit safer to make holiday travel a little bit more joyful.  

But Jolley says that while driving, even safe, “It’s the blind leading the blind.”

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